People are using the back roads near Comox Dam as dumping grounds.

Illegal back road dumping ‘starting to get out of hand’

Situation has worsened since the increase in tipping fees at the Cumberland dump

  • Mar. 18, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

Members of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Club are tired of seeing the surrounding area used as a dumping ground.

The sides of roads in certain spots are littered w ith freezers, fridges and mattresses. On Thursday, someone added a chesterfield and love seat to the mess — the same spot where a freezer had been dumped and later picked up.

“This is starting to get out of hand,” club caretaker Dave Munk said. “There’s other areas where there’s a total of seven mattresses, couches, seats and La-Z-Boys, and then freezers and fridges.”

Colake Road, which crosses Comox Logging Road, is a common spot to dump behind trees.

“It’s an eyesore coming from town out here all the time,” Munk said.

He’s concerned the situation is worsening due to a recent increase in tipping fees at the Cumberland dump.

Dumpers can face a $500 fine for bottles, broken glass or other rubbish discarded in an open place, as per the regional district’s unsightly bylaw.

The provincial Conservation Service also has the authority to issue tickets for dumping.

“We will help with solid waste (department) to attend these sites, gather any evidence and then assist with the cleanup of the sites,” said Derald Lewis, the CVRD’s manager of bylaw compliance and special investigations. “We’ve been out to that area for dumping of roofing products; also the one area (described by Munk) was (used for) dumping couches, and household garbage.”

Lewis notes the dumping of trash is a long-standing problem in and around the logging roads by Comox Lake, especially the area across the bridge at the dam.

“If you go through some of that stuff, tracing it back, you basically have to get an admission of guilt,” Lewis said. “You’ll find names in there, but are those the people that actually dumped it?

“You have to have the four elements of an offence before you can convict anybody: the date, time, the jurisdiction and the identity. If you don’t get that, your chances of getting a conviction are slim to nil.”

Each April, the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association conducts a spring cleanup that extends from Courtenay to the club — which sits next to Comox Lake — and out to Wolf Lake north of town.

A similar Good Samaritan effort is carried out each year in Grande Prairie, Alta. On a Saturday in June, dozens of volunteers collect garbage to help restore the Wapiti Dunes area, which gets riddled with litter as a result of illegal dumping. Since 2009, the cleanup has removed more than 400,000 pounds of trash from the site.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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